Roni Levy 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After just six months in charge, Uri Malmilian left Betar Jerusalem on Monday
Sixteen seasons as a player at the club made Malmilian Betar’s
greatest icon and he finally got his chance to guide the team this past summer
after 15 years of coaching.
However, despite having a relatively
promising squad of players, Malmilian could not get his team to play anywhere
near to its potential, and after winning just five times in 18 matches, he
brought his disappointing tenure to an end on Monday.
Hours later, Roni
Levy was already installed as his replacement.
Malmilian had offered his
resignation earlier in the season, only to be turned down by chairman Itzik
But after the two met once more on Monday, Betar announced that
it had parted ways with Malmilian by mutual consent, although it is believed the
coach is the one who decided it was time to go after being told he would not be
able to sign new players.
Betar wasted little time in finding a
replacement, signing Levy to a contract through the 2011/12 season.
delighted to sign with Betar,” said Levy, who guided Maccabi Haifa to three
straight Premier League championships between 2004 and 2006.
“When I look
at Israeli soccer it is clear to me that Betar is one of the country’s big
clubs. I came close to coaching Betar on several occasions in the past and now
things have finally fallen into place.”
Levy left Haifa after the 2007/08
season and has experienced little success since, coaching Maccabi Petah Tikva
for just 11 months before spending six months at Romanian club Unirea Urziceni,
leaving the team this past summer.
Levy, who lost out to Moti Ivanir in
the race to be named the new Maccabi Tel Aviv coach last week, refused to set
tangible goals for the remainder of the season.
“At the moment, we want
to get to a situation that we can promote young players and build a winning team
that will aspire to finish as high as possible in the standings,” said Levy, who
appointed David Amsalem as his assistant.
“I will take time to learn
about the team’s problems and then I will be able to set more goals.
see this as a great challenge. There is a lot of potential in the team. I
believe that with hard work and perhaps some new players we can do some nice
things. I’m optimistic. The side isn’t in the best situation, but with
methodical work we can change matters and I believe in my ability.”
just 19 points from 18 games, Betar is only eight points above the relegation
zone and has lost two straight matches, falling 2-0 to Maccabi Petah Tikva at
Teddy Stadium on Saturday.
Nevertheless, Kornfein is confident Levy can
lead Betar to immediate success.
“I’m an optimistic man and I’m certain
Levy can help Jerusalem out of this poor period,” he said. “The goal is to
settle the team and pull away from the danger zone.”
Malmilian for his work, but claimed that there was no other option but to
replace the coach.
“We came to the conclusion that we had to make a
change,” Kornfein said.
“Sometimes you need to take painful steps in
soccer. No one enjoys taking these kinds of decisions. The reality of our
situation forced this upon us.
“At the end of the day it all comes down
to results, and they weren’t good. Anyone who cares about Betar wasn’t pleased
with the results.
“Roni Levy is one of the most decorated coaches in
Israeli soccer. I wanted him in the past and I hope he leads Betar to where it